On a trip to Charleston, South Carolina in 2015 we decided to do a “Low Country” cooking course. Whilst there, we were recommended to visit Martha Lou’s who has been serving her soul food for the past 30+ years. We’d happily travel to Charleston just to eat her Southern Fried chicken again. It is THAT good!
We returned for a second day and asked her for some secrets to her great flavours. This recipe is inspired by her advice.
The whole recipe is about low and slow. You’ll notice the fryer temperature is lower than expected, whilst the cooking time is longer than anticipated. The results are outstanding as the chicken retains the juiciness without having huge volumes of oil leaking out of it.
40no Chicken Thighs (approx 5kg)
500ml whole milk (goats milk makes a great alternative. Buttermilk was too thick and tangy)
1kg Self-raising flour
50g Maldon Salt
240g bottle of African Volcano peri peri marinade
80g tub African Volcano peri peri seasoning rub
240g bottle African Volcano peri peri sauce
4L groundnut/ peanut oil for frying. (rapeseed/ sunflower oil did not have the same effect and was too greasy during the experiments. Martha Lou uses peanut oil. Enough said!)
Marinate the chicken thighs in the peri peri marinade for 72 hours. Minimum marinating time is 6 hours.
Blitz the dry ingredients (salt, flour, spice rub) in a Thermomix for 4 seconds. Pour into a deep baking tray
In separate tray pour in the milk
Remove the pieces of pre-marinated chicken and lay on a baking tray. You’ll need to do a few stages of tossing them in the milk (ensuring they are well mixed and covered by the milk) and then into the flour mix.
Remove from the flour mix onto silicon baking paper and reserve to one side in the fridge. Do not cover, as the moisture will affect the quality of the crust.
Preheat the fryer of peanut oil to 150DegC.
Carefully place the coated chicken pieces (5-6 pieces at a time) in the frying basket and set your timer for 18minutes.
When cooked, remove from the fryer and leave to drain for 30seconds. Place on a silicone sheet covered baking tray and leave to keep warm in an oven set to 85DegC.
Serve with the peri peri sauce.
This recipe uses chicken thighs, on the bone. You can use chicken breasts/ boneless thighs as an alternative. IF using boneless, please note the cooking time is 8minutes
If you prefer a thicker crust, you can double coat the chicken by repeating steps of coating them in the milk and then in the seasoned flour.
The crust of the chicken is awesome when eating as is. When you dip into the peri peri sauce, the whole dish comes alive. Serve it with a peri peri roll or if you have managed to get some cornbread from Martha Lou’s, that works a treat too.